Sunday, 29 December 2019

Contorted Tunnel

Pedestrian tunnel, Hay's Galleria
The contorted and carpeted tunnel, Hay's Galleria.

Sunday December 29, 2019.

I had long heard of a pedestrian tunnel that wound its way from the basement of the Hay's Galleria to Tooley Street, but I had never had the opportunity to look for it.

This changed on Sunday afternoon when, after taking my daughters to the toilets in the Hay's Galleria, I noticed a short brick tunnel, with offices to the right.

As soon as my girls were ready we headed along the tunnel, which took a right turn. Suddenly we were looking down the contorted, carpeted pedestrian tunnel. At the opposite end were a number of shops, all closed, and a gym that was full of athletic types, working out.

To the left were some stairs, which brought us out onto Tookey Street, almost opposite the London Bridge Underground entrance.

By the looks of the carpet this tunnel is rarely used, but, from now on, this will be the way that I will avoid the crowds, when heading to Hay's Galleria. Especially if it is raining.

Walking with 'The Snowman'

Walking with The Snowman at Tower Bridge
The Snowman with Tower Bridge.
Sunday December 29, 2019.

With our Christmas celebrations finished, I thought it would be nice to get the girls out of the house, for some fresh air. London seemed the obvious place to go, Especially as there were still all of the Christmas Fairs, selling their wares, and a sculpture trail celebrating Raymond Briggs' 'The Snowman' to follow.

Arriving at London Bridge station we crossed Tooley Street and immediately found Snowman number 3 (Three French hens). All of the maps, showing the route to take, were already gone, but that didn't put us off.

So, we headed into Hay's Galleria, where we found Snowman number 4 (Four calling birds). Passing through the Galleria we soon found ourselves on the Queen's Walk and headed eastward. Sure enough, as we approached H.M.S. Belfast, we found Snowman number 5 (Five golden rings} quickly followed by Snowman number 6 (Six geese a-laying).

Snowman number 10 (Ten lords a-leaping) was found by the water fountains, by More London, followed by Snowman number 11 (Eleven pipers piping), by City Hall.

We spotted a huge crowd near Duchess Walk and headed over. It was here that we found Snowman number 12 (Twelve drummers drumming).

Realising that we needed to backtrack, we headed along Duchess Walk, to avoid the crowds, and along Tooley Street, before returning to More London.

Snowman number 9 (Nine ladies dancing) was swiftly followed by Snowman number 8 (Eight maids a-milking).

Next, we discovered Snowman number 7 (Seven geese a-swimming) on English Grounds. We now only had to find two more.

Determining that they were probably on the Queen's Walk we headed into Hay's Galleria, again, and headed westward, towards London Bridge.

Just beyond London Bridge City Pier we discovered Snowman number 2 (Two turtle doves) and, just a short walk away, Snowman number 1 (A partridge in a pear tree), just before the steps that lead up to London Bridge.

With all of the Snowmen accounted for and photographed, we headed back to Hay's Galleria to get a hot chocolate and warm up.

Empire Pool and Sports Arena (Wembley Arena)

Wembley Arena and fountains in the Square of Fame
Wembley Arena with the fountains in the Square of Fame.

Sunday December 29, 2019.

Wembley is one of those places that I only visit if I am going to see something at the Stadium. However, it has been many years since I have visited the Arena, to see a concert.

My first memory of seeing something at the Arena was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when I was taken to see Holiday on Ice, by my nan.

Then, in September 1988, I saw Belinda Carlisle in concert. That December I went to my first Iron Maiden gig, there.

Since then I have seen Joe Cocker, Meat Loaf, Sheryl Crow, Iron Maiden (again) and more.

On this visit, to Wembley, it was purely to see the Christmas Lights Festival, so I took this photo, as I did not know when I would next return to the area.


Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Plaque: James Braidwood

James Braidwood memorial, Cotton Lane
James Braidwood: Founder of the world's first municipal fire service.
I had seen this memorial on many an occasion, but could never quite work out the lettering, although the design obviously made reference to a fire. So, a little digging needed to be done.

The inscription reads;

To the memory of 
James Braidwood, 
superintendent of the 
London Fire Brigade, 
who was killed near this 
spot 
in the execution of his 
duty 
at the great fire 
on 22nd June 1861

A just man and one that feared god, of good report among all the nation.
Erected by the M. or Southwark Division of the Metropolitan Police

S. H. Gardiner, New Kent Road


Monday, 2 December 2019

William Blake's 'Ancient of Days'


Ancient of Days St. Paul's Cathedral
Urizen in William Blake's 'Ancient of Days'.

Sunday December 1, 2019

From Thursday November 28, 2019 (what would have been William Blake's 262nd birthday) to Sunday December 1, William Blake's 'Ancient of Days' painting, was projected onto the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.

It was a cold afternoon as I, my two girls and my mum made our way along the Southbank towards the Tate Modern, and a spot where we would be able to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Arriving at the Tate Modern, we headed up to the viewing platform, which offered a more unobstructed view than from the riverside, but was far colder. After taking a few photos of the skyline, in the still light afternoon, we decided to take some shelter inside the cafe area and warmed up.

Just before 16:15, as the winter sky darkened, the painting began to emerge against the backdrop of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. The colours, becoming more prominent with each passing minute. With the wind picking up we headed down to the riverside, which, despite its openness, was less cold. Go figure.

A few more photos of the dome, the painting, the various boats and bridges were taken, before we headed back towards the Southbank Centre, in search of some hot food and a drink.

Ancient of Days at St. Paul's Cathedral
From Thursday November 28, 2019 (what would have been William Blake's 262nd birthday) to Sunday December 1, William Blake's 'Ancient of Days' painting, was projected onto the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. 

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